Leadership – A Team Sport

seattle seahawks leadershipThose of us in Seattle are still celebrating the first Super Bowl win for the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man. It was an awesome day for the team, the fans and all of us here in the Northwest. You’ve all heard the negative media stories about the team: “they are mediocre,” “Wilson is too short for a great quarterback,” “Sherman is a thug,” etc. All disproved in 3 hours of focused, driven execution of a great strategy by a great team.

One of the things that strikes me most about the Seahawks is that they really are a team, meaning that although there are some real stars, everyone takes their turn. Smith winning the MVP for the Super Bowl was just one example. The team has its obvious leaders, Coach Carroll, John Schneider, Russell Wilson, the other coaches and players in positions of authority, however, every single one of the players “leads” when he has to. They were able to shut down the best offensive team in football – and it was no accident. They had a plan, they executed, and they won.

How does this apply to entrepreneurship and business? Leadership is a team sport. Yes, there is one person as the designated leader to make the ultimate decision, (because we all know how well socialism works in business), however, the great leader is able to bring out the leadership qualities in everyone on the team. He or she is able to identify the parts that the players do best and let them lead in those areas. No one minds being led when their contribution is acknowledged. When you see a great team working, it’s pure synergy. Everyone knows their role, each role is valued and mutual respect is had by all – and they win.

Think about the teams you lead or are a part of. Look at these following elements and if you don’t know the answer, ask.

  • Does everyone know their specific role?
  • Does each member of the team know the roles of the others?
  • Do they know what the goal or purpose is?
  • Do they know the timeframe to accomplish the goal?
  • Do they know the playbook to achieve the goal or objective?
  • Is everyone held accountable for their deliverables?
  • How are you celebrating the wins?

If the answers to these questions are murky or undefined for your team, time to take a look at the players and see who needs to be brought in and who needs to be traded. You can get extraordinary performance out of ordinary players, but the team has to be rock solid for that to happen. So start from the ground up. Gain clarity on the players and the plan, focus on the goals, and the possibilities are endless.

Just ask the Seahawks.

photo credit: deVos via photopin cc